Better Call Saul’s “Namaste” episode shows how the characters react when optimistic plans fail and events can’t be controlled. Anchored by exciting chase action DEA agents vs Gus’ group, the title comes from Howard’s license plate. Gordon Smith pulls double duty as writer and director. Fun and amazing instant fan-favorite episode.
Spoilers are below, so be sure to watch before reading more unless you like being spoiled!
Thrift shop treasures
In the cold open, Jimmy is thrift store shopping, lifting and hefting (among others) a Buddha statue, a working tv set, and a golf club, before buying three bowling balls. No time frame is given then, but we’ll see Jimmy use those later.
Cleanup needed on Aisle 6!
“Namaste” happens the day after “The Guy for This” as Saul and Kim start their day. Both are hopeful opportunities will succeed.
After her disaster with Mr. Acker (Barry Corbin) Kim has a new plan to settle his issues with Mesa Verde.
Saul has his Howard (Patrick Fabian) lunch planned. AS they head for their cars, Kim stops by the broken glass from last night’s Beer Bottlepalooza party. Jimmy says “That’s why you pay rent” knowing somebody else can clean it up. But Kim can never ignore a mess, so she grabs a broom and calls her office. She gets her assistants researching her new Mesa Verde-Acker plan.
But Mesa Verde rejects her suggestion to move lots and leave Acker alone, so she’ll have to come up with another plan. Kim will involve Saul, naturally. I smell another con coming up between them.
“You’re lucky I’m even talking to ya!”
Saul’s clients include the rapping skells, aka Sticky (Sasha Feldman) and Ron (Morgan Krantz) after their bender in “50% Off”.
The guys balk at Saul’s suggestion of rehab, but he happens to know a place where they can get certification without actually going into rehab. For an extra fee, of course, on top of Saul’s $4,000 tab.
“Free is, you know, free”
They like that idea but are broke, so want a “free layer” aka Public Defender. Saul rips them a new one saying a “Public Pretender” will only get them years in prison instead of his better deal. They stick with Saul so Grandma will have to cough up his fees.
“You deserve a shot”
Howard tries charming Saul lunch, asking him who Saul is and how Saul differs from Jimmy. Saul launches into his “Savior of the little guy” spiel and we see he believes it himself.
Chuck’s death hit Howard hard; we’ve seen him in therapy and generally kinder since then. Here, Howard confesses that Saul belongs back at the firm, with a clean slate and bright future. Saul is skeptical and he rejects that legacy as “Chuck McGill’s loser brother”.
Saul doesn’t buy Howard’s personality conversion any more than viewers do; that night Saul throws the bowling balls over the fence onto Howard’s car with the “Namst3” license plate.
“Is it clean?”
Gus Fring is having a terrible day. The DEA agents are staging a raid on the money drops putting his people at risk for arrest. He has to lose a cool $500k already, so he’s on edge and frustrated.
He planned carefully, even mapped out the route to keep Krazy-8 safe, but he can’t control what happens once the chaos begins. He’s safe away from the action but not in control, so he takes out his frustrations on the restaurant manager doing closing clean- up. The kid says things are clean at first, but Gus’ hard stare convinces him to re-clean. Gus finally decides the kid’s scrubbing is “acceptable” but even the kid knows he’s failed, somehow. He’s practically in tears, quaking, by the time Gus lets him go home. Note to self: I never want a stressed Fring judging my cleaning, ever.
“2 sweetest words…Mis-trial “
Saul has a trial in which he seats the defendant in the back of the courtroom, not at the defense table where he puts another man. When the chief witness points to the ringer at the table as the perp, Saul gets a mistrial out of it. Slippin’ Jimmy is back in the driver’s seat . Kim shows up after court and asks Jimmy to help her with Mesa Verde.
Just got a new client”
Saul goes to Acker’s house and smooth-talks him into becoming a client. Saul is good, sure, but this is going to put Kim and Saul on opposite sides of the suit, which won’t be good for their relationship. It will look like collusion at best, to the world and clients. At worst, Saul’s need to win, at all costs, will cost Kim Mesa Verde as a client and her job possibly.
The DEA agents are staking out the money drops so Hank covers his nervousness by acting cocky. Combined law enforcement groups are in position, but once the action starts chaos will be out of their control.
“Namaste”‘s chase scenes and the cat and mouse suspense throughout the chase are great television viewing. The raid is successful because money is taken and three men are in custody. Hank is disappointed they got no info on those higher in the drug organization, but he brags big so buys drinks to celebrate. He’s made the best of the situation but it less than he wanted.
“Namaste” shows the main characters not in control of their lives but and reacting to disappointing events. Some (Hank) take it in stride and hide it well. Others (Saul) take huge risks to try for better results. Kim asks for help, while Mike seeks violence.
Food for Thought
- Mike needs to work through his anger and guilt over his son’s death. Turning his emotional pain into emotional and physical violence turned out badly for him in “Namaste”.
- What are Howard’s real motives for wanting Saul back at the firm? Nothing compassionate, for sure. There must be dirty secrets there that Saul doesn’t yet know.
- Kim needs serious therapy so she can stop the compulsion to clean up all messes others make. She’s going to end up losing her brilliant future thanks to Jimmy and Saul.